When Unexpected Characters Find You

crow-1 (copy)

Artwork by Kath Unsworth
From Crowville

When something visits me in my sleep and flips around my head in the waking hours. I  simply must catch it and put it down on paper.  All due to a writing prompt for my monthly writing group meeting this week.

The torn curtains was the prompt and all I could think about was a boy with a crow on his shoulder. He would not go away, he annoyed me at 2am in the morning. He kept tapping at the creative side of my brain and yelling….

“I’m in here and I need to get OUT!”

So here he is, a rough idea that needs setting free, before I go back to my other projects.

Enjoy this short story I am sure Dudley Deadwood will make an appearance again as my children want to know what happens to him and they have decided already that his nick name is DEADLY DUDLEY.


People will tell you, especially when you are a kid, be careful what you wish for. I never understood, until the day my family moved to Crowville and I my wish came true.

My wish is nothing huge or crazy like wanting to own a football stadium, even though that would be cool. I was the invisible kid, the one no one remembered at parties or anywhere. It was time to step up and be somebody different. I Dudley Deadwood  wished I could be noticed, with a name like Deadwood you think it would happen often. When I moved to Crowville, I met Screech and everything changed.

Friends told my parents not to move there, they said the town was weird and strange things happened. My parents sold their art to make a living, they took it as a chance to gather inspiration.

“The stranger the better.” My Dad said.

The only one a bit scared was my baby brother Iggy. I can’t say I blame him he was the most popular kid in his Pre School, without even trying or knowing.

I guess I should start where it all began, the day I met Screech. What kid can resist a double dare, especially a chance to stand out. The local bullies had demanded I meet them at the haunted house at the end of my street, they double dared me to come. Sal and Rusty the creepy siblings.  I walked slowly up the pathway, my mind thinking maybe I should not bother proving anything to these dull-headed dim wits. I was curious mostly, I did not believe in haunted houses.

I stopped outside the two-story mansion it looked like it needed a paint job and a very handy, handy man. The sign read Crowshaven do not enter. The windows on the ground level were open, torn and tattered, blood-red curtains flapped in the breeze. The weirdest thing, the yard gave me the creeps, birds everywhere. Crows in the trees on the roof, I had never seen anything so bizarre.

“Are you ready Duds?” said Sal creeping up behind me, she was tall and thin with a sour grin on her freckled face, she smelled like oranges.

“Yep, let’s get this over with, what do I have to do?”

“See the apple tree in the back yard you have to bring us all back an apple.” She said.

“Too easy.” I said.

“Be careful if she sees you, you are dead meat.” Added Rusty her brother, he was short and plump and had a mean looking scar above his brow.

“Yeh, she’s a witch and she will curse you if she sees you.”

I wasted no time and crept through the gate, looking from side to side. My heart thumping as if I had just finished a marathon. I began picking apples. The crows scattered, making more noise than a thief needed.

“Curses on you foul creature.” The voice was high-pitched and curdled. I turned to see Sal and Rusty running away, leaving me holding the apples. The screaming became louder and almost hysterical.

“Get out of my house!” An old woman stood at the window waving a broom madly at a crow flapping its wings, trapped in the torn curtains,  I moved without thinking and unravelled the bird. It flopped to the ground, one wing hanging loose.

“Thank you boy.” She said With a toothless grin, they are a menace. “What is your wish?”


“You helped me and now I grant you one wish, hurry, I have a soup on the boil child.”

“I, um I would like to be noticed.” It just came out like that really.

“This will come in time, be off and do not steal apples from my garden ever again.” I ran out of the yard without looking back. The crow screeched, hopping along behind me.

“Hey can’t you fly? I will take you home until your wing heals, my parents will adore you.”

The next morning I thought about that wish. My pet bird Screech was sitting at the end of the bed he had chosen me as his new friend. When I looked out the window the trees  were no longer bare the crows had come.


Tell me if you think your kids would like to read more about Crowville and Dudley, I hope you are having a productive day.

About Minuscule Moments

Everybody has a DREAM. Today is the first day of the rest of my writing life. Its a lonely world out there when you are learning the craft. This year, as the same as last year, I want to finish my first children's picture book. I have learn't many wonderful lessons on this journey. You are never too old to learn.
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47 Responses to When Unexpected Characters Find You

  1. Hi Kath

    I enjoyed this myself and would like to read more about Dudley – does that make me weird??

  2. Oh boy! Of COURSE we’d read more about Dudley. AND Screech. By the way, in our home, the proper response to “You’re weird,” is “Thank you.”

  3. diannegray says:

    Dudley is great and I LOVE weird (because I like being the new ‘cool’ as well) 😉

  4. Della Law says:

    Don’t know about the kids, but I want to hear more. I want to know how he will get noticed. It has to be in a weird way, nothing favourable. Too true, be careful what you wish for.

    • Della thanks Im imagining his first day back to school the crow goes to school too on his shoulder and the bullies have told everyone that they heard the old witch curse him, but in fact she cursed the bird. I think in the stories it will take him awhile to discover that he does not have a bad luck curse but his feathered friend does.

  5. Tammy Schaefer says:

    Kath, I enjoyed this and know that if I have grandkids one day they will enjoy it too! I too enjoy reading young adult stories. One of my favorite memories with my daughter was reading Junie B Jones with her. 🙂 Keep writing and illustrating.

  6. Kath, I love how this story starts. An intriguing beginning that makes the reader want more.

    I know this is for kids, but I love young adult fiction quite a bit. Have you read anything by John Green?

  7. You are so right–that happens. I wish I’d take the time like you just did to flesh them out. They may find a place in a novel or their own story. I must say, though, this boy is fascinating.

    • Jacqui thanks he just would not go away, especially when I am trying to finish other things. But now he is in my ideas diary and safe and warm until Im ready to write about him. The biggest sign that he was interesting was my kids kept asking questions about the illustration.

  8. My kids would have loved this when they were younger…they read many weird series…gobbled them up. Then again, I loved it! It’s the perfect children’s story. Great hook. Memorable characters. Just enough “edge” to make it a touch unsettling, but not too scary for a kid. In just this short passage you’ve made his entire family interesting along with the old woman. And then there’s the crow. There’s a good reason Dudley tapped you on the brain. 🙂

  9. Mary says:

    Kath, my grandson would love this story! Yes, want more! 😉

  10. I love this! Def want to know what happens next. I’m also jealous of your writing group! I need to scrounge up one myself.

    • Dana thanks for visiting, reading and also putting me on your blog list you are too kind. My group is quite new but it is good practice to take something along to read out and have some useful feedback.

  11. AAhhhh .. my favorite type of story. I enjoyed it !!!!

  12. Audrey Chin says:

    I’ve enjoyed all your stories and very much like this one. I’m so looking forward to a completed anthology;)

  13. Sara says:

    This is a wonderful beginning! You tease us with your brilliant ideas and of course we want to read more. I don’t care if that makes me weird or not. A good story is enjoyed by all, and this, most definitely, can come to nothing but good. Keep it up!

  14. I want to read more… And I’m not a child. I just love a good story.

  15. Hi Kath,
    Loved reading it though I am not more a child:) You do have a way with words. Some of your phrases reminded me of the ‘Turn of the Screw’, not sure why. When I read them again I scarcely see any similarity. Something which is intuitive….? Maybe.


    • Shakti thank you I have never heard of that book and googled it, sounds like my kind of read. My story ideas mostly come when I have a dream, I wake up and get it onto the page before it leaves my head, sometimes its a daydream I see stories as if watching a movie I always have. Thanks for dropping in hope you have a wonderful day

  16. Kath, I love your drawing of the boy and his bird. It’s an intriguing combination that reminds me of a time I saw a young fellow holding a branch with a crow perched on it as he walked down the sidewalk past our house. There were quite a few crows following the odd couple. I suppose it was an injured bird. Yes, this is a great story idea–and actually very realistic in many ways. Have fun with it. My 13 yr old daughter agrees with me as she read it too.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

  17. Judy says:

    I don’t know about my kids (all grown up don’t ya know )…. But I would love to read more of Dudley and Screech.

  18. G. Olivo says:

    Love this and will definitely read more of Dudley and Screech! But more illustrations please! They are very, very good!

  19. Aquileana says:

    Dudley & Screech are certainly a good duo… I loved your story and I am also glad that I came across your blog…
    Best regards, Aquileana 😛

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